Hachioji st (transfer)
Higashi Fussa St (end)
So four stations, roughly an hour and a half on the trains.
We left Yokosuka five hours before our flight. We took a taxi to the More's City Station, our first train of the day. I was pulling one huge bag, with another medium size bag laid across the top of the handle, two carry on bags (mine and JD's). Cj had a medium size roller bag with a smaller sized roller bag across the top plus his carry on bag. It took us a full ten minutes (nine of which were filled with me swearing under my breath) to get through the ticket gates which were of course way too narrow to get the bags through. I ended up having to pick each and every bag up above the bars and carry it to the other side (which is not fun or easy when each bag is 40-50 pounds). I re-stacked them and we made our way to the elevator to go to the platform. On the platform I had to yell at my youngest half a dozen times to hang onto me so he didn't fall off or wander away. When the train pulls up you have just a few precious minutes to hop on, which normally isn't a problem. What was a problem was the stupid gap between the train and the platform. Poor Cj got his wheels stuck and I had to sort of push/pull him in, during which time my two stacked luggage bags fell over flat in the middle of the train car. I got Cj on, had Jd sitting down and picked up the luggage.
Station two was a transfer because I screwed up and took us the wrong way. It was a mess. The cars were crowded, Cj was having difficulty holding his bags still and I kept tipping mine over while trying to grab onto Jd to make sure he didn't get loose and disappear on me. When the train stopped I got off, Jd got off and Cj got stuck! I freaked out, dropped everything and ran back onto the train with Jd in tow, grabbed our bags right as the door closing chimes were going off and flew back out. It would have been comical if it wasn't happening to me. I had visions of being stuck on the train while my purse, laptop, and luggage sat at that platform. Luckily that didn't happen but it was damn close.
We finally made it to the Yokohama Station, which is a pretty big and busy hub. We managed to struggle off the train, dropped my bags again on the platform to try to help Cj off. I told Jd to stay right there holding my bag while I turned around to help Cj, who was right at the door trying to get the wheels of the bags over the gap. Two seconds later Cj is off and Jd is nowhere to be found. Apparently he had started to walk back onto the train through the next door down, when an elderly Japanese woman grabbed him for me and held him on the platform. He was maybe five feet away from me, but those few seconds that I couldn't see him, felt like an enternity. For the rest of the trip I made sure to hold his hand firmly.
So we struggle our way to the elevator to head up to the main floor to switch our train lines. During this time I had to repeat the whole "lug the bags over the top of the ticket gates because I don't know how to properly pack shit" routine while dozens of people whizzed by me and acted like I wasn't there. As I was beating myself up for packing so much and second guessing this whole damn move, a nice, older Japanese man who spoke English stopped to ask me if I'd like some help. Of course I said yes! I want to say right here and now that if it were not for the kind, generous people who assisted me with my baggage that there would have been no way in hell we'd have made it home. So both he and his wife each take a bag and we head off to the elevator. He and his wife gets in, followed by the boys and me....and the elevator dings very loudly and starts to buzz. Yup. My bags and my ass had put the elevator over it's limit. So we had to go up in shifts. Once we made it to the top the kindness did not stop there. He and his wife insisted on helping us to our next station, helped us through the ticket gate, took us to our platform and even enlisted a Japanese train assistant to help us get our bags onto the train. I could not stop thanking the kind man. I asked if I could have his contact information to send him a thank you gift, but he shrugged me off, petted the boys on the heads, winked and told me to have a safe trip. Then he and his wife left to go to their platform at the other end of the station.
We waited for our connection for about ten minutes, managed to get on with the help of the nice assistant and we took off for our next (and final) stop. It was a tiny little station outside of Yokota, that had no elevators to go up just a long ass flight of stairs, with the ticket gate up at the top. Great. I was going to have to lug our bags one by one up to the top, then cross and lug them down one by one. Or so I thought. Another Japanese man, the only other person to get off at this stop, picked up my heaviest bag without saying a word, just giving me a smile. He proceeded to help me carry the bags up the stairs, then down the other side. It took us about ten minutes to complete the circuit with kids in tow, and we were both sweating like a whore in church. After the last trip and my profusely thanking him and offering to purchase him a drink, he politely declined, climbed the stairs up and crossed over to the platform where he had got off and sat down to wait for the next train.
After that came the fun part. We walked for about twenty minutes half stumbling, dropping bags into the street, almost taking out a guy on a bicycle, yelling at Jd to please for the love of God just stay next to me, and at one point, all three of us were crying ( Jd wailing that he was tired and hungry, Cj whining that he was tired, and me quietly crying because I'm a damn idiot) when we finally made it to the base. We showed our ID's and once on and I asked the gate guard for the number for the base taxi, and after waiting for half an hour we made it to the terminal four hours and thirty three minutes later. It's an hour and a half trip. The rest of the time was us fighting with the bags, each other and the trains. It sucked. So I can completely understand his concern and I can tell him that no, darling. We won't be taking those freakin' bags back onto the trains. Ever.
|The only consolation? We didn't hit rush hour. I don't think we could have handled this. *This isn't my image. I googled it*|